JAST USA On Steins;Gate And Their Other Upcoming Nitroplus Games

By Ishaan . July 6, 2013 . 12:00pm

At a panel at Anime Expo last night, visual novel publisher JAST USA announced that they will be releasing Nitroplus and 5pb’s Steins;Gate in the West, as well as a number of other titles that they announced alongside the game.


Steins;Gate happens to be just one of several games by Nitroplus that JAST USA are in the process of translating. Siliconera caught up with the company’s founder, Peter Payne, to ask a few quick questions about the upcoming slate of Nitroplus games.


What have negotiations between JAST USA and 5pb been like? What were their concerns and what were yours?


We’ve worked exclusively through Nitroplus with regards to Steins;Gate. They’ve handled the talks with 5pb. From our experience, 5pb is a great company.


You’ve been working on bringing Steins;Gate over for a while. What changed that makes it possible to bring over now?


I think they were just taking their time making sure they made the right decision about what to do with Steins;Gate for the English market. There’s a lot involved since it’s part of an extended media mini-empire that was created by two different, extremely talented companies (5pb and Nitroplus).


Who’s translating the game?


Steins;Gate is being translated by the same team that released a partial fan translation in 2011. The translation will have been polished and edited for the official release, with complete translation of tips, e-mails, song lyrics, and other items. There will also be numerous system improvements, such as full compatibility with English Windows.


Do you think picking up a big name title like Steins;Gate will give you more room to negotiate with other visual novel developers in Japan?


Our goal has always been to increase the quality of the titles we offer each year, bringing in more of the games our customers want us to bring out. Our relationship with Nitroplus has been a big breakthrough for us, one that has led other game companies to be more likely to want to work with us when we contact them.


You’ve developed quite the relationship with Nitroplus. Are they different to work with from other visual novel companies?


They’re definitely very focused on quality, which is good because it lets us bring customers the best possible product. They also have a strong interest in overseas expansion, driven by changes in the Japanese market. And they have a very nice office in the SkyTree building.


Outlaw Django is another Nitroplus game. Is that being worked on yet or are you waiting to clear other projects off the slate first?


The other Nitroplus games currently in our catalog are Hanachirasu, Django, and Sumaga. We’ve been taking pre-orders for Hanachirasu since 2011, so we intend to do Hanachirasu next. After that, we will assess the situation and decide how to proceed with Django and Sumaga. We definitely want to get these out to fans ASAP.


Have you discussed Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas with Nitroplus at all?


Not at present. If they ask us to consider it, we will.


It’s neat that you’re making an effort to bring over games with a more "grown up" art style. How’s the scene for those in Japan nowadays? Are they harder to find?


We consider ourselves a "mirror" that reflects the overall Japanese visual novel market, and if we can reflect what’s being done in the industry, we’re okay with that. We know that there are lots of fans and we try to include as many genres as we can, e.g. stuff for casual gamers, games for more serious VN fans etc.


You’ve been doing this a long time. What’s changed in the last five years? Has anything changed?


I think the interest by Japanese VN companies in working with us to publish their games has increased in the last five years, which is something that we’re very excited about. As the market is changing, we’re doing our best to help Japanese companies see the benefits of releasing to a wider global audience.

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  • ChiffonCake

    I’m looking forward to the next stuff as well, especially Sumaga.

  • Wait what

    I don’t suspect we’ll be seeing Steins;Gate until around 2015.

    • Wolfs_Rain

      Why? The translation’s already over 90% done; as he said, all they have to do is polish it up and translate the side content.

      • Margaret Chan

        I may be wrong, I apologize but this is what I remember being the case, somewhat supported by Wikipedia. JAST USA worked with people who had put out a fan translation of Saya no Uta in 2009. JAST USA announced Saya no Uta in July 2011 and they only released Saya no Uta this year. Given that, 2014 or 2015 doesn’t sound unreasonable.

        • Temuthril

          Demonbane also took a few years to get released. Nitro+ was a bit on the slower side when it came to changes on their engine.

        • Qunton C.

          But the translation for Saya got totally re-done. Like, from scratch. That’s why it took so long. This one is already finished and edited.

          • gtharby2

            Isn’t Saya like 4 hours long?

          • Qunton C.

            7 for all endings in my experience. But that’s still definitely a reason it took so long. That and Nitro+ seems to be incredibly slow with QC.

          • Margaret Chan

            If Saya was totally re-done when JAST went through I can understand. If I read correctly BW completely re-edited the translation before this announcement. We’re… waiting on Nitro+’s QC which will always be the deciding factor. Mid 2014 instead of 2015?

      • Wait what

        JAST history with Nitro+ games is why.

  • SupaPhly

    What about Chaos;Head?
    Surely they haven’t forgotten that they got the license for that too

    Then again, Saya no Uta was released 10 years after the Japanese release

    • dynamic-zx

      In another interview they said Chaos;Head will be considered once SG is finished. It uses an older SG engine and if you’ve played the fanlation at all, requires some wizardry to get it to even work to begin with.

    • Margaret Chan

      They got the license for Chaos;Head? When did they do that? Or are you speaking of Nitro+ and 5pb? I would’ve liked Chaos;Head too but maybe they don’t think western audience would like it more than S;G. S;G is more relevant and it seems to have done extremely well in sales (anime and merch)

      • SupaPhly

        yeah, whoops. I mean the nitro+ license. the reason the fan translation wasn’t fully complete.
        Maybe they could release Chaos;Head and Steins;Gate as a bundle, but that’s just my opinion

    • Juan Andrés Valencia

      Don’t forget about the virtually non-stop violence, sex and… sexual violence of Saya No Uta. That would make it hard to sell anywhere, let alone the US.

      Then there’s the fact that Nitroplus and Gen Urobuchi weren’t that well know before Madoka, the Steins;Gate anime, Robotics;Note and Chaos;Head became popular.

      And even then there’s the minor problem that many people buy VN’s due to the sex and nudity. Manga Gamer did mention that they needed to release nukige in order to make a profit and be able to release VN’s that are more plot-based than sex-based (Like Kara No Shoujo, Cartagra, KnS The Second Episode, Higurashi, etc.) so it’s basically a two sided blade.

    • MXC

      Honestly, they probably shouldn’t release Chaos;Head, due to the fact that one applied with the english patch is probably still floating around somewhere out there, because thhey probably won’t get too many sales like what happened with ef.

      • I think Chaos;Head & Steins;Gate could see moderate success on Steam. Having played both and had loads of my friends play them they really enjoyed them. They all admit though Chaos;Head is a lot easier to get into, it’s arguably darker and more gripping from the start which would be a good place to start in regards to releases. I think if they showed the correct thumbnails on Steam it could see high sales.

        • MXC

          Oh no I’m sure that Steins;Gate would. The only one that I don’t want them to for their own good lest they believe poor sales for it = west not interested is Chaos;Head.

  • benhofb

    Ooohhh man. Whenever this comes – be it this year or 2015+ – I am so freaking looking forward to this.

  • I wonder if they know that Steins gate visual novel has been already 100% translated by fans…

    • A fan translation is one thing. An official localisation to help gauge interest in future localisations is another.

      • Ex_Vorgier

        Gauge interest for what? The whole “official localization” of such a niche medium in the west is pointless with fan translations, especially since JAST takes those fan translations and just cleans them up.

        There’s a few scenario’s I could see.

        1. Buying an “official” translation because they pirated it and want to support them.

        2. Already bought the japanese version and used a fan translation.

        And most likely

        3. Pirated it and don’t care about buying the “official” translation.

        TL:DR With fan translations, “officially” localizing them is pointless because there is no interest to gauge on TITLES THAT ARE ALREADY TRANSLATED.

        • M’iau M’iaut

          Again you are assuming that the target market is only those to your 1-3 scenarios. That there are not folks who have not been a part of the eroge VN scene who are now willing to try.

          • Ex_Vorgier

            The only way someone would know about an eroge or visual novel ON PC for that matter, would to be already involved in that sort of thing. Somebody who has never played them probably don’t even know they exist, is just going to wake up one day and say “Hmm, I should check out JAST USA, I feel like being a pedo for a bit”

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Not everyone on our site is involved with the eroge scene, and we are providing the news to folks right here. Someone who has just encountered 999, VLR, Hotel Dusk or Phoenix Wright might indeed not know something like S;G exists at the start but when they do discover it, might just want to play.

          • Testsubject909

            I’d like to note another failing in his ideas expressed here but I don’t want to reply twice to him, not with two walls, it’ll seem like I’m ganging up too much so… I’ll expand here if you don’t mind M’iau.

            “The only way someone would know about an eroge or visual novel ON PC for
            that matter, would to be already involved in that sort of thing.”

            Ahem…. Yes. That means anyone who has never touched a Visual Novel or an Eroge will never, ever, ever get involved with these games. That’s why the fanbase has never expanded in the history of ever and why nobody ever spreads news or talks about it which in turn gets more people to check it out, because unless you are directly involved with it, you will never pick it up.

            Why that idea can be applied to a large variety of game genres. Such as FPS and RPGs. Unless you have already been involved, you will never pick it up. And obviously if you’ve never been involved, you will never be involved in the future as you will never pick up those games. Ever. In the history of all time. That idea is fact and true. Because nobody is ever curious about anything and will never involve in anything they aren’t already involved with.

            I hope I can put across the ridiculous ludicrous nature of that entire post’s statement… By the extension of his suggested workings for people’s minds in general. Your own reply to him would be null and void because. “They would never get involved or encounter 999, VLR, Hotel Dusk or Phoenix Wright because they never were involved in Visual Novels and thus will never get involved with any of these games, ever.”

            It’s kind of sad when you don’t even need to actually reply to him for his own comment to break into itself…

            You know what’s truly sad though? Me wasting this time to just point out how ridiculous that mentality is… But eh. I’ve got nothing better to do at this very moment.

          • Testsubject909

            I’d like to inform you here that some of the open perverts of the place here, myself and PoweredByHentai to give you the two most commonly known perverts, have supported these sorts of games and purchased them legally.

            And on the matter of the VN being translated. I’m sad to announce to you that I don’t fit in any of the three categories you’ve stated.

            I haven’t gotten the JP version, I have not looked up a translation because at the time when I first heard of this game, my attention was prioritized elsewhere, now hearing that this game is getting an official localization piques my interest a bit and I for one will most likely be supporting them bringing it over as a gamer who understands the industry relatively well enough.


            You might… want to expand your scope just a bit. First of all you are already talking minorities here and are basing yourself off of an estimated sample and batch that you can only substantiate with your own personal experiences and your own actions to which you will project your idea of normalcy unto everyone else that you cannot immediately identify because… Well you cannot identify them.

            Secondly because of whatever pride you may hold to your own values and thus to your own person and to the idea of being right, you will dismiss other information unless they please your result but in doing so you are tainting your result and causing a fallacy in your theories, meaning that you are ultimately wrong in your result or at the very least flawed in the expected result versus the theory you propose, and I do say propose as you are not stating facts but just hypothetical ideas here.

            Finally, pardon the wall of text. It’s sort of what happens when I have to deal with bullshit. Pardon my saying the word bullshit, I tend to be a bit overly honest even though I know and understand that I have the time to edit this out so to not make myself antagonized towards you which subconsciously is going to make you want to go opposite of me and thus lower the value of my opinion. But I am putting some… trust here that you may surprise me and be smarter then your own personal instincts and actually be able to take my opinion without having factor in your baser brain function that will impede with your higher thoughts.

            And yes. I am not too subtly nudging towards putting you in a position where you either take what I state in some way and fashion to alter your ideas, even minutely so to expand further your theory, or you are simply going to mark yourself off as what one could more easily identify to the general ideas of a close minded fool or an idiot no matter how you may attempt to convince others that you aren’t such, even by attempt at directly attacking me and my methods, in large part because it seems you are already on negative grounds on top of being a completely new user with little reputation and faith to back up his own personal statements, making you more easily marked as just a mindless troll who’s just here to cause trouble for his own entertainment.

            And you will most likely have to deal with my statement and alter your views if you even want just a sliver of credibility because unfortunately the fact of my existence and opinion directly contradicts your theory given… If not me, then the downvotes you have received, though unexplained which does bother me as I do prefer when people can express themselves… Also acts as a direct opposition to your theory and thus proving it false and inapplicable in it’s current form.

            Edit: I also realize that this should’ve been a reply to your original listing of three groups.

    • Christopher DeBono

      They know about it, that’s why they’re working with the same team to make it even better.

  • Natat

    I can’t wait for this to come out in 2016!

    • FatlusFan

      2016? You’re really optimistic.

  • 一語69

    That’s a pretty cool Chinese screenshot you have there for the first picture, siliconera. ( ゚∀゚)アハハ八八ノヽノヽノヽノ \ / \/ \

  • GHAmer

    If only there is a PC version of Robotics;Notes,

    there will be a chance of it geting translated too

    • Aoshi00

      I know the popular and lucrative Steins;Gate has been ported left and right, but there’s a chance Robotics;Notes might not get ported to PC or Vita at all since the original game was not as well received as S;N, and understandably so. While R;N had a good story and characters and a much better anime adaptation, the game was not as fun to play. The twitter-like system was rather cumbersome compared to the phone text messages of S;G. The game’s soundtrack pales in comparison to the anime’s as well, very repetitive. R;N was an OK game, but disappointed many after S;G. If you’ve watched the R;N anime, there’s no point to play the VN at all, unlike S;N. It took me a while to finish it because the story lost my interest while I was totally hooked on S;N.

      I know Steins;Gate coming to the West is nice, but I really would prefer it to be on console just like 999/VLR or Phoenix Wright, even digitally on PSN/XBL.. as I don’t play games on PC at all..

      • I only saw the anime of R;N and it wasn’t very good. Was nothing compared to the awesomeness that is S;G. I would also love to see more VNs on console localized but that would require some of the big niche localization companies to pick them up.

        • Aoshi00

          I did like the R;N story and chars, even though the pacing was very slow in the game. The anime was already much better than the game. It’s hard to live up or be as good or better than S;G because it was one of the best. yeah, would be nice if the bigger companies picked them up..

  • Ni

    So the release are going to be in 2020, right?

  • …why is that first screenshot in Chinese?

    (And yes, I can tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese.)

    • Whoops. I uploaded the wrong image by mistake. Fixed.

  • shuyai

    i want to trust jast usa but the past record isnt looking great. i mean when they say soon its actually at-least 2 year plus. look at the Nitroplus usa webside, the last update is 2011, yumina was coming soon in 2011 and so is saya no uta, sumaga was suppose to be in 2012 too but look where it is. they make all the promise and break all of them and worst no update.

    so yea like other saying it probably coming out in 2020 lol

    • Aerii

      According to the translator, who left some comments in the other article, the translation’s all done. Just bug testing and quality checking is left.

  • Crimson_Cloud

    Let’s be objective here, if it weren’t for fan-translations, most of us (who has no/very little knowledge of Japanese language) wouldn’t be reading a lots of VNs. I just hope they sell well and get more people on the team so they can translate more of them in a relative faster manner.

    Also, a bit off topic. Seinarukana when? It’s been 3 years now…

    • M’iau M’iaut

      And they mentioned Sumaga again, after the first SKU for that got cancelled. Same habits we have seen before.

  • FatlusFan

    Well I don’t trust their translations, but it’s worth a shot anyway.

  • Daeyamati

    Yes! A JAST title worth buying. Now to wait 2+ years until it gets released.

  • brian

    Do we know what the console versions added in?

    • Wappuli

      It was first for the xbox360 so you should ask what the PC-version added, and that was character portraits for 3 characters(Ruka’s father, Faris’s father and 4°C), some new CG’s and cosplay patch. After that all new versions just had a new opening movie.
      For PC-version, resolution was lowered from 1280×720 to 1024×768 and amount of sound channels was lowered from 5.1ch to 2.1ch.

      • brian

        I was thinking mainly the PS3 version since I think that came last but alright.

        • Wappuli

          Ok, well just to clarify.
          -PS3-version has all the additions of the PC-version except cosplay patch
          -Has new opening movie.
          -Has same resolution and sound channels as xbox360-version.

  • Kyosuke Yoshino

    They should release it for the consoles too, I think there would be a lot more sales like that!

    • MXC

      If it’s not already available for consoles they won’t bother making it for consoles themselves and selling them since they are only localization companies. This is a genre that is very close to nichest of the niche so you can’t be expecting them to get the sales even to do such a thing, unfortunately. I would personally love to have more VN’s for my Vita or PSP and then use the cable to port it to my TV, but that’s just me .

      • lol. Steins;Gate is available in almost every single platform. PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, PS Vita, ios. There is even a growing library of VNs coming out on the Vita already. But those would never get localized as I doubt JAST has any experience with consoles. The best bet for playing console VNs is so far learning japanese. PS3 and PS Vita has a great variety of VNs.

        • MXC

          And learn japanese is exactly what I’ve been striving to do for the past 5 months and I gotta say It is f-ing difficult. The Hiragana and Katakana part is easily mastered within a week(me: 2 days). I’ve only learned like 120 kanji out of 2000+. Course I could just use my JPN-ENG Dictionary, Kanji Recognizer App, and read anything I want but I want to be able to play the more fast-paced games where I won’t have the time to do that.

  • katamari damacy

    Release Steins;Gate for consoles! at least on digital release! That way we can test the viability of visual novels in north america. If Steins;Gate is able to turn a profit, then they should know that visual novels as strong as Steins;Gate will sell in the states.

  • natchu96

    I completely forgot about Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas. What happened with it?

  • Will Jay

    The only question I have here is “the same team that released a partial fan translation in 2011” reminds me of a lot of drama that caused it to only be partial.

    I think someone managing that fan translation sold it to JAST without anyone else on the team’s knowledge until it was done, and the partial patch only came out because someone else on the team released it unofficially afterwards… But maybe I’m just remembering wrong.

    • Blick Winkel

      It’s really the other way around. Someone decided to ignore JAST’s first email without telling anyone else, and then disappeared. Later, JAST contacted someone else on the team, and we agreed that it would be best to work with JAST, and try to remain silent about it until they decided it was best to announce their interest. Then the person who got the first email returns and lets the cat out of the bag without talking to the rest of us, and that’s where this misunderstanding arises.

      The scripts that were publicly released were later made into a patch by a third party using the publicly released tools. We released these publicly with the full intention of somebody else making a patch. Also, nobody has been paid yet.

  • I spoke with Peter Payne a little bit after the panel.

    I brought to him about Moe Novel and how they pushed for an ESRB/PEGI rating to broaden their reach for a potential audience. Along with that, I also asked about if perhaps something like Steins;Gate could benefit from a rating, like what Moe Novel tried to do with If My Heart Had Wings. Peter said there would be a scene (I can also think of another one) that would push a rating a up, but from my observation he looked very interested, which is promising.

    I really do hope they try to get go on Moe Novel’s route on this, since a property like Steins;Gate an opportunity in the market that does not come too often.

  • D H

    JAST… getting just a little concerned here about all the Nitro+ talk and not one little mention of Sonicomi… get to it, already!

  • Guest

    I haven’t played any kind of VN since…. Seasons of the Sakura…. over 10 years ago, lol. But I’m glad I read this, since I caught the name “Outlaw Django” here and checked out the trailer and some pics and info, and now it’s on my list so I’ll definitely be buying it when it’s officially released in english. :)

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